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Elias Canetti
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Time is a concept referring to the perceived flow of actions and events from the past to future, or to its measurement. In Physics it is also referred to as "the fourth dimension" of a space-time continuum.


Arranged alphabetically by author

  • Time is not a reality [hupostasis], but a concept [noêma] or a measure [metron]…

  • A butterfly
    Fluttering over the vendor’s
    Dry flowers of spring
    Only two days it flies
    Caught by the lost boy
    Yet still.
    • For Peng Fajardo by Shane Castro in The Now

  • Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future,
    And time future contained in time past.
    If all time is eternally present
    All time is unredeemable.

  • Lots of things take time, and time was Momo's only form of wealth.

  • The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To flutter — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing
  • The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
    • (1859 edition)

  • Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived. After all Number One, we're only mortal.

  • Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn.

  • I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
    For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
    My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
    Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
    Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
    Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
    Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
    Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
    Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
    Show minutes, times, and hours.

  • The flow of time is always cruel... its speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it... A thing that does not change with time is a memory of younger days...

  • Time, time, time, see what's become of me,
    While I looked around,
    For my possibilities;
    I was so hard to please.
    But look around, leaves are brown
    And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

  • There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven — A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

  • This thing all things devours:
    Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
    Gnaws iron, bites steel,
    Grinds hard stones to meal;
    Slays king, ruins town,
    And beats high mountain down.

  • All dwelling in one house are strange brothers three,
    as unlike as any three brothers could be,
    yet try as you may to tell brother from brother,
    you'll find that the trio resemble each other.
    The first isn't there, though he'll come beyond doubt.
    The second's departed, so he's not about.
    The third and the smallest is right on the spot,
    And manage without him the others could not.
    Yet the third factor with which to be reckoned
    Because the first brother turns into the second.
    You cannot stand back and observe number three,
    For one of the others is all you will see.
    So tell me, my child, are the three of them one?
    Or are there but two? Or could there be none?
    Just name them, and you will at once realize
    That each rules a kingdom of infinite size.
    They rule it together and are it as well.
    In that, they're alike, so where do they dwell?

  • Time is a waste of money.
    • Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young (1894)


  • Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today And then one day you find ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking And racing around to come up behind you again The sun is the same in the relative way, but youre older Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say

Home, home again I like to be here when I can And when I come home cold and tired Its good to warm my bones beside the fire Far away across the field The tolling of the iron bell Calls the faithful to their knees To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

  • I think the second you stop fighting it, time really is on your side.

  • What is time? If nobody asks me, I know; but if I were desirous to explain it to one that should ask me, plainly I know not.

  • We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

  • Time spent with cats is never wasted.

  • Everything passes, but nothing entirely goes away.

  • How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

  • Life holds one great but quite commonplace mystery. Though shared by each of us and known to all, seldom rates a second thought. That mystery, which most of us take for granted and never think twice about, is time.

  • Time is the accident of accidents.

  • It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.

  • Our true home is the present moment.'
    To live in the present moment is a miracle.
    The miracle is not to walk on water.
    The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment.

  • Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet others, go flowing on. Time is a child, moving counters in a game; the royal power is a child's.

  • Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.

  • You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.

  • The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time

  • Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour.

  • Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

  • The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

  • Lost, yesterday, somewhere between Sunrise and Sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.

  • Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today.

  • Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

  • The future turns to present, and present turns to past. Thus it seems that time is ever-ending, yet never-ending...

  • I've been on a calendar but I have never been on time

  • Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be eternity, eternity can be the tick of a clock.

  • By labor we can find food and water, but all of our labor will not find for us another hour.

  • Nature's Time is Cubic and perpetual. Linear Time is wrong and suicidal.

  • We are not capable of producing a concept of time that is at once cosmological, biological, historical and individual.

  • Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.

  • This I offer to the secret of great Truth: Do not waste time!

  • " Alone I suffer, alone I wait. Waiting for time. Time the healer."

  • Veritum dies aperit
    • Time discovers the truth
    • Seneca in De Ira

  • The present never ages. Each moment is like a snowflake, unique, unspoiled, unrepeatable, and can be appreciated in its surprisingness.

  • Each moment is a place you've never been.

  • The present is not what is spoken about today, but what is reported tomorrow.

  • The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”
    • James Taylor (American Singer, Song Writer and Guitarist, b.1948)

  • The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.

  • Time and tide wait for no man. A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide.
    • Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)
  • “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    • Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

  • They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

  • Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.

  • Time is precious because time is finite.

  • Events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.

  • I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own.

  • Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once.
    Space is what prevents everything from happening to me.

  • All things in this world are impermanent. They have the nature to rise and pass away. To be in harmony with this truth brings true happiness.
    • Buddhist chant

  • The more time we lose, the more memories we make

  • Living is entirely too time consuming to last.

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